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One Direction's Five Lessons for Building Customer Loyalty

by Rafe Gomez  |  
August 8, 2013

On a sticky July evening, the multimillion-selling vocal group One Direction (AKA 1D) made a stop at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ, on its international "Take Me Home" tour.

The capacity crowd of 19,000+ fans, composed primarily of frenzied 9-16-year-old Jersey girls, welcomed the young UK stars with screams and open arms.

(Full disclosure: my 11-year-old daughter is a rabid "Directioner," and I accompanied her to 1D's Izod Center show.)

For those unfamiliar with the worldwide pop cultural impact of 1D, here's a quick summary:

  • The group's five members were originally contestants on the British version of "The X Factor" in 2010. They were signed to Simon Cowell's Syco Records (marketed and distributed worldwide by Columbia Records).
  • Their first album, "Up All Night," was released in 2012, and their second album, "Take Me Home," came out in 2013. The group has sold 19 million singles and 10 million albums around the world.
  • Tickets for their tours have sold out within minutes.

The passionate emotional enthusiasm (and sizable financial expenditures) that 1D inspires among its massive global fan base is not a fluke: It's the result of a meticulously nurtured loyalty-building strategy that was on full display at the Izod Center.

Companies that wish to develop positive connections with their own customers would be wise to learn from 1D's examples, which were carefully planned by their managers and flawlessly choreographed by the producers of their "Take Me Home" tour.

1. Deliver outstanding quality

I expected 1D to put on an adequate show that pleased its young fans. But what I saw at the Izod Center was a powerful spectacle that truly wowed the Directioners.

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Rafe Gomez is a principal at VC Inc. Marketing, a provider of multimedia Sales Inquiry Optimized (SIO) content to companies around the world. His work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including MSNBC, Fox News Channel, Forbes, Yahoo Small Business Advisor, American Express OPEN Forum, Adweek, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Direct Marketing News.

Twitter: @vcincmarketing

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  • by Seshu Thu Aug 8, 2013 via web

    Excellent article as it clearly gives an example followed by theory- exceeding customer expectations which I find is a tough sell to many of my restaurant clients. At the end of the day given many choices a customer has, service/product providers have to go beyond what is expected and this is not an easy task as customers who get used to superior service will want more and more. Another aspect to this is the cost of these exceptional services - after a certain point it would not be economically feasible to deliver exceptional services.

  • by Courtney Bosch Thu Aug 8, 2013 via web

    It really is amazing what brands can learn from rock stars and how they keep their fans wanting more!

    And this line made me giggle:

    (I told my daughter that 1D probably says the same thing to the audiences at each of its concerts, but she firmly insisted that 1D would never do that...)

    Thanks for a great read!

  • by Gracious Store Thu Aug 8, 2013 via web

    Great post! It is very profitable for brands to nurture valuable dialogues and helpful social media interactions, this will help to establish mutual friendship and trust between brands and prospects

  • by Rafe Gomez Fri Aug 9, 2013 via web

    Seshu -

    Glad you liked the article. In terms of your restaurant clients seeking to exceed customer expectations, the effort doesn't have to be expensive. In fact, it could be quite reasonable, but the benefits would be highly valuable.

    Some ideas:

    - offering mini tastings of second entrees (it only needs to be a forkful) to customers who order full dinners on particular nights
    - doing a charity raffle, with the prize being a private kitchen tour and cooking lesson (this would also generate free media coverage for the restaurant)
    - offering a free dessert liqueur (served in a mini-apertif glass) to customers who order full dinners on particular nights

    Might any of these be do-able/economical?

  • by Amber Mon Aug 12, 2013 via web

    I am not a fan of 1D but based on your article they do a good job with their fans. They know what they want and try to give it to the, Businesses could indeed a learn a thing or two on how to keep your customers loyal.

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